Are we the masters of our own destiny?

A Senior Citizen | .

An example of a car insurance advertisement by Takaful Malaysia states:

Motor Contribution = RM 2,600.00
Less NCD @ 55% (max) = (RM 1, 439.00) * New drivers no discount
Contribution Amount = RM 1, 430.00
6% GST = RM 70.20      
* new drivers pay GST RM156.99

 Before April 1, 2015, there was no GST for insurance at all. Now GST is added to all insurance premiums. Does it not hit all those above 18 years old? So all the news about car prices have come down is like all other lies the government is feeding us. As a retiree, I pay car insurance, house structure and content insurance. My grandchildren’s education insurance too has become a burden.

Back in the 1940s, the Highly Bakery near the Jalan Chow Kit junction, KL was a household name known to all the residents there. When WW2 ended in 1945, the owner committed suicide because all the bags full of Japanese money he had accumulated were worth nothing. One of our past PMs, once said that it was no use having big numbers in money if the buying power of the money was not there. I am grateful that this PM is now questioning the present administration.

On Wednesday the media headlined our PM gloating about the so-called success stories of his administration. Our per capita income has increased from US$7,059 or RM25,412 in 2009 to US$10,426 or RM37,533 in 2014. From April 1, 2015, the RM 37,533 at RM3.61 is only worth US$10,397 a reduction of USD29 or RM104. What is the Ringgit’s buying power for a retiree in 2015 in comparison to 2014, when there was no GST? In short, our PM was deceiving us with statistics.

In the recent parliament session they increased the MPs income by RM10k. Though this news would have made the MPs very happy but to pensioners and other retirees it is the worst nightmare because it brings more money into circulation causing prices of things to go up.

The tourist from Singapore comes to Malaysia and goes on a buying frenzy and returns home happy because S$1 is worth RM2.70. The difference between RM and S$ was only 30 cents in the late 1960s. Even the US$ is now worth RM3.60 because of the RM 42 billion losses caused by 1MDB. Do you call this positive development?

The GST is the unkindest thing the government has done to the people, especially the retirees.  We retirees have to balance our expenditure based on the pension and other savings done when our ringgit value was higher. We dig into our saving only when unexpected expenses like wedding invitations, going on holidays, buying small luxuries like new electrical appliances and repairing and replacing cars happen.  Malaysian population statistics show that retirees (56+ years old) number about 16% of the population, or 5 million people. Why should we allow the BN government to bully us?

When I retired in 1995 as an Associate Professor after 34+ years of service in education, I received a pension of half my basic salary. My pension was adequate for me and my wife to meet our daily expenses. As a retiree, I did not pay income tax. As a division one retiree, my medical benefit was that of class one or the best government hospital offered. I only had to pay for meals provided during any stay in hospital. Today, my pension is equal to a present division three retired officer’s pension; I would feel shy to acknowledge myself as a division one officer.

In 1995, a roti canai/ nasi lemak biasa breakfast would cost about RM2, today it is RM6 minimum with GST and 10% service charge, up 200%. The cheapest Indian barber’s hair cut has risen from RM8 to RM14 today. At the Supermarket all the items marked ‘S’ in the bill have GST added.  Even instant mee that used to be about 30 cents in1995, today ranges in price from RM1 to even RM3 each. Milk price has gone up from RM1.50 to RM5.00 per liter, up by 300+. Even the sugar price in Malaysia is among the highest in the world.

In 2015, my pension is at the BRIM hand out point. With the GST added to most of the bills, my pension is now a joke. I cannot name one item in daily existence that has not gone up in cost.

Malaysian population statistics show that retirees (56+ years old) number about 16% of the population, or 5 million people. We have become like the old unproductive rubber trees waiting to be destroyed. Our glory days are over and this government is never grateful to us.

My advice to all those still in service doing the good and bad things for the government, please take heed. After you retire, your turn will come to face the consequences of a corrupt administration, which does not care for the people.

In two of my previous articles, I wrote about the ‘shahadah’ or ‘bearing witness’ which Muslims recite a total of 14 times in our Azan and the 5 compulsory prayers. Every time when we show support for a leader or a cause, we are indeed ‘bearing witness’. In my world view, it becomes an act of ‘shirik’ if the leader or cause is bad. I would refrain from showing any support for a leader, who does not give satisfactory answers about 1MDB and Altantuya’s murder. If I am a voter in Permatang Pauh or Rompin, I will not vote for BN for all the wealth in the world because at my age, the Hereafter is more important. What use is fulfilling all the ceremonial religious obligations, when you support injustice out of fear and for worldly pleasures?

The government exists because of our votes. Let us become masters of our destiny and change the government.

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